Those guilty of state cap­ture must pay the ul­ti­mate penalty

Post - - COMMENT - ● Ma­haraj is a ge­og­ra­phy pro­fes­sor at UKZN. He writes in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity. BRIJ MA­HARAJ

ON MAY 24, 2014, Ja­cob Zuma took the fol­low­ing oath of high of­fice: “In the pres­ence of ev­ery­one as­sem­bled here, and in full re­al­i­sa­tion of the high call­ing I as­sume as Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic of South Africa, I, Ja­cob Ged­ley­ih­lek­isa Zuma, swear that I will be faith­ful to the Repub­lic of South Africa, and will obey, ob­serve, up­hold and main­tain the Con­sti­tu­tion and all other law of the Repub­lic; and I solemnly and sin­cerely prom­ise that I will al­ways: pro­mote all that will ad­vance the Repub­lic, and op­pose all that may harm it; pro­tect and pro­mote the rights of all South Africans; dis­charge my du­ties with all my strength and tal­ents to the best of my knowl­edge and abil­ity and true to the dic­tates of my con­science; do jus­tice to all; de­vote my­self to the well-be­ing of the Repub­lic and all of its peo­ple…”

Later, when he was swear­ing in Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s Cab­i­net, Chief Jus­tice Mo­go­eng Mo­go­eng ex­plained that the oath was an “al­le­giance to the Repub­lic and obe­di­ence to the Con­sti­tu­tion… a for­mal con­tract with the peo­ple of South Africa… to be­come a ser­vant of South Africa… And may the oath or the af­fir­ma­tion judge most bru­tally any of us who is here for a show or any of us who will be­tray the con­sti­tu­tional as­pi­ra­tions of the peo­ple of South Africa af­ter hav­ing an oath or af­fir­ma­tion ad­min­is­tered to him or her.”

It is now com­mon cause, with com­pelling ev­i­dence from the leaked Gupta emails; pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s State of Cap­ture re­port; “Be­trayal of the Prom­ise: How South Africa is be­ing stolen”, a re­search re­port by aca­demics; the South African Coun­cil of Churches Un­bur­den­ing Panel Re­port; and out­stand­ing in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism, that Zuma and many in his Cab­i­net did not up­hold their oath of high of­fice or obey and de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion and pro­tect all South Africans.

In June 2017, Mpumelelo Mkha­bela from the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria ar­gued that “Zuma’s con­cept of high call­ing was to sell the state to for­eign­ers… He doesn’t obey, up­hold or main­tain the Con­sti­tu­tion. He is faith­ful only to the Gup­tas. He obeys, ob­serves and main­tains their in­struc­tions… He pro­tects and pro­motes the rights of the Gup­tas at the ex­pense of South Africans. He has ef­fected a caste sys­tem in South Africa, giv­ing the Gup­tas pref­er­en­tial treat­ment in ev­ery­thing within his con­trol”.

Re­tired Deputy Chief Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke was blunt in his crit­i­cism of the Zuma regime: “We went to sleep for 10 years and in­sti­tu­tions were hol­lowed out. We all lost the guts to tell a bum­bling fool who was sit­ting out there, act­ing as a pres­i­dent, (to tell him that) he is a fool, (to) tell him he’s in­ca­pable of do­ing the high ideals of our lib­er­a­tion Strug­gle. As we failed to do that, we ac­tu­ally al­lowed so much dev­as­ta­tion and poor peo­ple be­came poorer.”

Ivor Chip­kin and Mark Swill­ing ar­gued that the “Zuma–Gupta po­lit­i­cal pro­ject turned against the Con­sti­tu­tion, the law and South Africa’s demo­cratic pro­cesses and in­sti­tu­tions… the leaked emails pro­vide de­tails of Gupta as­so­ciates’ in­volve­ment in the day-to-day ad­min­is­tra­tion of key gov­ern­ment de­part­ments – writ­ing speeches, com­ment­ing on pro­pos­als, sug­gest­ing reg­u­la­tions. That is, they are wit­ness to the evolv­ing, silent coup d’état that was tak­ing place”.

This silent coup d’état oc­curred, ac­cord­ing to for­mer min­is­ter Ngoako Ra­matl­hodi in his ex­plo­sive tes­ti­mony at the Zondo Com­mis­sion, dur­ing a “sea­son of mad­ness” when paral­ysed NEC mem­bers in the ANC lost their tongues, while Zuma “auc­tioned ex­ec­u­tive author­ity” to the Gup­tas.

He be­lieved that Zuma had sanc­tioned the con­tro­ver­sial Gupta-char­tered civil­ian Jet Airways aero­plane at the Waterk­loof Mil­i­tary Air Force Base in Pre­to­ria in April 2013.

He re­ferred to the mys­te­ri­ous grip of the Gup­tas over Zuma, who “were like a python wrapped around him”. Ac­cord­ing to Ra­matl­hodi: “An old com­rade Jabu Ng­wenya once told me that the Gup­tas had a full-time sec­re­tary at their Sax­on­wold home whose duty was to han­dle the pres­i­dent’s diary. This made it pos­si­ble for the Gup­tas to in­ter­rupt his of­fi­cial diary in the Pres­i­dency to sum­mon him. And he would come run­ning.”


Ra­matl­hodi ex­plained the Gup­tas were demon­strat­ing their power and ex­erted sim­i­lar author­ity over most gov­ern­ment min­is­ters and di­rec­tors-gen­eral and could sum­mon them at will to their house: “They had the power to sum­mon Zuma to their home… and they would boast about it. Now, that is also a power to sum­mon a min­is­ter who is wet be­hind their ears and will in ef­fect run around to the Gup­tas… they called you to their home, not a ho­tel.”

Ra­matl­hodi was “pro­moted”, and Gord­han and Nene were de­moted by Zuma be­cause they re­fused to com­ply with the crooked re­quests of the Gup­tas.

When Zuma re­placed Nene with Des van Rooyen as min­is­ter of fi­nance in De­cem­ber 2015 the rand tanked to R15 to the US dol­lar.

A Daily Mav­er­ick editorial de­scribed this as “an act of wil­ful sab­o­tage, an act that will have cat­a­strophic ef­fects for ev­ery­one, but mostly the poor. It is the act of a leader who de­spises those he leads, a leader who has no re­spect for his of­fice, a leader who is there to serve a closed net­work of friends, ad­vis­ers, back­ers, and loy­al­ists. It is an act… that hews so close to trea­son that it be­comes dif­fi­cult to give it another name”.

The modus operandi of the Gup­tas was, through their grip on Zuma, to plun­der the SOEs of bil­lions by in­flu­enc­ing the ap­point­ment of pli­able de­ploy­ees at min­is­te­rial, board and di­rec­tor gen­eral lev­els.

There was crim­i­nal mis­man­age­ment of SOEs – Eskom, SAA, Prasa, Transnet, Denel – and con­se­quently, all are in dire fi­nan­cial straits.

Since Novem­ber 29, South Africans are once again ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the in­con­ve­nience as­so­ci­ated with load shed­ding by Eskom. The mul­ti­plier ef­fects of load shed­ding on the econ­omy run into hun­dreds of bil­lions of rand, ex­tend­ing and ex­ten­u­at­ing the ef­fects of the eco­nomic re­ces­sion.

The Gupta shenani­gans with Tegeta and Glen­core coal mines are well known. On Novem­ber 16, Na­tional Trea­sury pub­lished Fun­dudzi Foren­sic Spe­cial­ist’s fi­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port… “ques­tion­ing whether load shed­ding at the power util­ity may have been sab­o­tage”. This sab­o­tage was ex­tended to de­stroy crit­i­cal state in­sti­tu­tions like Sars, the Hawks, and the NPA.

The word trea­son is de­rived from the old French word “trai­son” or the mod­ern ver­sion “trahi­son” which means “a hand­ing over, de­liv­ery, sur­ren­der”.

Pro­fes­sor Ray­mond Sut­tner has ar­gued that to cede state power “to non-state en­ti­ties or in­di­vid­u­als who do not bear state re­spon­si­bil­i­ties is to un­der­mine the func­tion­ing of the state and that is surely trea­son”.

Pro­fes­sor Piet Naudé from the Uni­ver­sity of Stel­len­bosch Busi­ness School, says “when moral in­co­her­ence and sys­temic cor­rup­tion set in… those in power com­mit moral trea­son against the na­tion”.

State cap­ture un­der­mines the sovereignty of the state, sub­verts law and or­der, and sab­o­tages the econ­omy.

There is com­pelling ev­i­dence that those im­pli­cated in the state cap­ture pro­ject in South Africa are guilty of trea­son and sab­o­tage and must pay the ul­ti­mate penalty.


Ja­cob Zuma is close to the Gupta fam­ily.

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